Not a Swimmingly Good Idea.

November 2, 2015 8:57pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 40 Comments

poolIt’s very foggy today which made me think about going swimming.

Of course, what I should have been doing is writing an upcoming 30 minute speech, continuing the research on a novel completely out of my genre that I’m doing for someone else, as well as my sequel and the cynical self help book I’m dying to write. However, the fog was spreading from outside to my inside and none of that was going to happen.

I like swimming because it has a calming feel to it. It’s not like going on the cross trainer at the gym and hating every minute; every minute that seems to last forever and you can’t sodding well breathe and you’ve only been on it for 3 of them. Plus the girl on the one next to you is going way faster and not even breaking a sweat which brings out my competitive nature and I end up pulling my calf muscle but have to pretend it really isn’t hurting and in doing so cause myself to panic. This in turn sends my heart rate (which is flashing in red on the panel in front) off the scale and I start to wonder how gracefully I will fall from the machine when I have a heart attack.

Swimming was the lesser of two evils, until I thought about it.

The gym I go to has a very nice pool and when I swim it allows my creative juices to run amok in my little mind; thing is, I don’t like getting wet unless I’m in a tropical climate and can dry off on a sun bed.

Next thing is, you’ve got to get dressed to go to the swimming pool, get undressed again and then re-dressed into your swimsuit. There’s a lot of hard work going on before you’ve even got into the water. You have to consider things like, “Oh God, is the nail varnish chipped on my toes and is my brazillian still intact and I’m really not too keen on that new venus razor I bought for under arm softness,” as you do a full body check for regrowth and other. Once that’s in order you have to pack up a bag with all sorts of things required for ‘after you’ve been swimming’ care.

On arrival and nicely tucked into your swimwear you realise that you’ve left your gym card in your bag and that’s the thing that operates the locker. Another 5 minutes is spent taking everything back out so you can find it along with remembering to turn your phone off so you don’t come back to a lot of pissed off health freaks because your locker hasn’t stopped ringing.

With the locker firmly shut, it is now time to pin the key to your attire. That pin is a vicious bastard. For starters, it won’t go through the halter neck part of your cossie and if you keep forcing it you end up stabbing yourself repeatedly in the chest. Trying to peel enough costume from elsewhere on your body is impossible as it is stuck to you like a second skin. At this point, nipple piercing seems the preferable option. The following issue is hair and if you have a lot of it like me, then it needs to be captured so you you don’t choke on it whilst swimming. I am unable to make this look like some sort of sexy ensemble but astonishingly adept at creating what looks like a nuclear explosion whilst trying not to get my fingers stuck in the hair bobble.

Once at the poolside, it is harshly suggested that you shower before entering so you can wash all the hatefulness off you before getting dipped in chlorine. Of course, as you’re going about this in the open, poolside shower, there is always someone watching you. For some reason I am incapable of making this shower work properly. I consider myself to be a very practical and fairly bright person but I can NOT for the life of me work this contraption. It’s either coming out in a trickle and boiling hot or violently belting out with freezing cold water. At this point the pool dwellers are wondering if you even know how to swim.

Next, you have to suss out the best part of the pool so you can make your way to the metal ladders that always have a screw loose. The pool tends to be split up into lanes for fast, slow and general. I tend to choose general as lanes make me feel trapped. I know it’s only a rope but you’ve made your bed and must swim in it and you can guarantee that if you pick the fast lane, someone faster is going to arrive and tailgate you.

I’m a moderate to fast swimmer and once in the water, want to get on with the task in hand. I’m here to lose myself to the musings of my mind and so I can have (a) Five Guys (burger) later. I tend to choose the more open spaced area so I have room to negotiate the following:

  • Girls who go swimming to stand around gossiping.
  • Guys who think they’re really good at the front crawl but more akin to an octopus having an epileptic fit.
  • Mad old ladies with dementia who have forgotten why the fuck they are there and just float randomly on their back in the middle of the pool.
  • And then that person who gets into the pool and has decided it belongs to them and them alone.

No matter where you are, they want to be there and the psychological face off begins. You approach each other from opposite directions and wonder who is going to move out of the way first. This kind of arrogance pisses me off and instead of conceding, my psychopathic narcissist kicks in (more than usual) and I become just as childish.

“If she smiles, I’ll move.” It’s close. There’s a rope one side and a floating granny the other and the food mixing crawler is causing tsunami’s at your rear. You look the pool owner in the eye’s and she smiles, damn it. You slip to the side as she passes just as Grandma remembers where she is and goes into olympic butterfly, nearly drowning you. No longer are you breathing air but snorting bleached water and choking to death.

After an hour of this hell, you try and get elegantly out of the pool only to find that your body has suddenly developed the weight of a thousand mountains; like it has soaked up so much water that it might explode and now you’re dying for a wee but cant walk faster than an ageing elephant.

This is swiftly followed by the art of taking off a wet swimsuit, also known as skinning yourself. Once it is peeled off and inside out, you realise that you forgot to take the pinned key off. By the time this is over and you’ve got all the crap out of the locker you have the onset of pneumonia because you’re so cold and wet.

Eventually you make it into the warm and easy to function showers but…

…you forgot your conditioner.

Back out to the changing room you go to get dressed. For some bizarre reason, getting properly dry after swimming is impossible to the point of ridiculousness. And now because you’ve exercised and showered, you’ve gone from freezing to boiling or maybe you’ve caught something nasty from the pool owner. This doesn’t help in getting dressed as clothes that earlier slipped on like silk have to be dragged and forced along your permanently moist skin until it’s close to bleeding.

Your hairbrush is nowhere to be found even though you definitely packed it and you’re now looking like Medusa after shock treatment on a wet weekend.

And this is why I didn’t go.



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I love this so true

Going for coffee and bris bris is much nicer 🙂

Did you follow me on my last pool excursion???

No. I was the bitch heading for you and not smiling. 🙂

It’s easier when it’s in the back yard and you can skinny dip if you want to. And this about that, yes I was and the guy who cleans the pool showed up a day early.

In a perfect world I’d have a Hollywood model cleaning the pool and things would have gone from 0 to romantic in one second. But that’s not how it works. Fortunately for me, I keep a towel poolside.

You may have found a niche business market there, Larry. I mean all these charmed, rich Californians with their pools and jacuzzi’s would surely pay for top model scrubbing!

You can’t even say 0-romantic in one second. You’re a fast player. 😉

California Penal Code Section 647 (b) would work against me in that new business.

Hold on…no soliciting, prostitution, lurking, loitering with intent or intoxicated to the point of past self help…I thought California was supposed to be fun?!
There are ways to circumvent every rule. She’s there to do a job (cleaning pool) that she’s being paid for. If she’s doing it properly and being thorough and gets her hands on any loose appendages it’s not your fault.

P. S., lest you think me braggadocios or rich, I live in Southern California where everyone in my extended neighborhood has pools. To not have a pool is to have a blighted yard.

I see. A bit like not having a pond full of carp or a neat row of tulips in a British garden means you’re severely lacking in taste.

It’s the same thing. With the exception that the SoCal pool is for jumping in and the UK pool is for looking at fish swim in.

Unless it’s New Years Eve then the Brits tend to jump into anything wet.

The last changing of the calendar that I spent in the UK was in Scotland (hogmanay). In Scotland, they don’t jump into fetid pools, they fall into them. Such is the nature of hogmanay, which lasts for a couple of weeks (a fortnight). I think that they take it to an extreme, but it’s their big national holiday (Robbie Burns’ birthday is nothing to hogmanay).

Yes, been there myself. And how long did it take you to get over that hangover? Tatties and neeps for breakfast straight from the pub?

Mince and tatties in large quantities helps. I never went for the haggis cure, doubting the sincerity of those making the suggestion. I have also eaten a large quantity of clutey dumpling (with hot, sweet custard drizzled over it).

Bottom line, Advil, hair of the dog (Bloody Mary) and rough and tumble sex works in Scotland just as well as it does everywhere else. It cures as it distracts.

I lived in Scotland and the UK for three years when I was in the US Navy. Working in conjunction with 62 Commando made me the target for hazing both in Plymouth, in Scotland and so forth. For example, if a shipmate (a local) could drink a pint, as a Yank, I had to drink two to uphold the Colors (not colours), etc. You get the idea.

A halfprin, a half and a roll in the hay with a harlot. Sounds like a healthy prescription, DR. LL

So you can hold your own at a pub. I like that in a Yank 😉
Haggis I have eaten under great protest. It was actually very nice but it would have been even better if I hadn’t known what it was. Sometimes being in the dark is better.

The last time that I swam in a genuine public pool, there were pensioners in a corner, then a large, murky stain that turned into a slick on the surface, accompanied by floating material. Everyone paddled for the other side as if their lives depended on it with me in the lead, hauling small girls (in tow).

Well I’ve just put my cornflakes down….

That’s nasty.

This is so hilarious, especially that last line!

Thank you, Dee. It’s not usual for me to give such consideration to doing something as I’m usually very spontaneous but bad memories tend to stick.

Excellent observation piece, Jules.
You take your costume off and THEN go into the warm shower?

*Rik Mayall pervy face*

Why thank you, Masher taters. 🙂

Haha! Rik Mayall had the best ever pervy face. I don’t so much care where it comes off – just that it actually DOES come off.

I was always scared of water in a basin, pools were meant for skating, not chlorine. our instructor would raise her arms beckoning me over but I cowered away until my back touched the wall as far from the pool as possible. they had to create a new class for me, beginners were guppies, I was amoeba. through the years it didn’t get better, my wild imagination would run, I would always think of who was lurking under the water: a Gremlin, Jaws, my vampiress girlfriend Eli come to take revenge on my bullies. then I saw it, a log of poo in the water and I was out for good. turned out it was just a Baby Ruth bar. I never ate chocolate nor went to the bathroom again *)

There’s lots of dangerous things in the water, my sweet; I’ve seen them. And you’re wise not to go in the bathroom because they come up the plughole when you’re not looking. I had to look up what a Baby Ruth bar was. It’s just a Snickers, right?

Brilliant! I need some of these bars to take to my swimming pool! That should give me some room. *)

Haha brings back memories. And why is it that it takes a week to get all the chlorine smell out of your skin and hair? About snorted coffee out of my nose at your exchange with Larry about the slick hahahaha

Yes, that’s so true, Tracy. You smell like an over sanitised public toilet for days. Snorting coffee from ones nose is better than swimming pool water. 😉

“And this is why I didn’t go.”

I just love stories with happy endings! What you need an empty tropical lagoon to swim in, Jules. No old ladies to bump into but you might get nuzzled by a frisky dolphin!

I swam in a tropical lagoon once in Mexico and right in the middle of it the Mexican boyfriend of my friend told me to be careful of alligators. You can dislike someone very quickly… Frisky dolphins I am more than happy with.

Never mind swimming. WHAT :30 minute speech? What’s THAT all about? Will it be televised or available online at any time? C’mon. Don’t be shy. This is not the time.

You guys have showers for hatefulness? Can I get one installed in my office? How clever are you?

How long have you guys had Five Guys there? I believe that’s one of our imports. I love it. It makes up for laying McDonald’s on you all those years ago.

Televised? I’m honoured you consider me to be so worthy of such things! It’s just a speech for a book launch. I’ve got to stand up and talk to a big audience for a whole half an hour. That’s a long time without interaction! And I’m supposed to remember it. I’m trying to find a body double to do it for me.
Yes we have showers for hatefulness but they don’t work.

We’ve had lots of your things here for a long while. I wish they’d bring the Bagel shop over from NYC and Four Seasons. I think I need to bring a proper English pub to America complete with proper ales, fine spoken wenches and fish and chips.

There is a Four Seasons in Hampshire, not that far away (just about as far as Las Vegas is from my place) from you and a bagel is a role with a hole.

BUT — A proper pub with fish and chips, sausages with the right kind of mustard for bangers and mash, etc. is impossible to find. Fish and chips (Edinburgh style), cooked in lard is literally illegal because of the trans-fat bans. Furthermore, you can’t buy J. W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale, Old Engine Oil Ale, Fuller’s London Porter, Taddy Porter, any of the Ola Dubh Reserves, etc. I understand that makes Americans look like barbarians. (hangs his head in shame)

You’re not allowed to triple fry your chips in lard? I thought you lot were free and brave? I’d be giving the “Bishops finger” to that one with full on “London Pride”

There’s the next niche market, Larry. Hang your head in shame until you get it sorted.

And this is when having a home pool or clubhouse pool one property over is a nice thing. I love Florida.

Hello Crystal 🙂 You are a cossetted and pampered lot, aren’t ya! What you lot need is a couple of weeks living with me to harden you up a bit. Wait…better still, let’s do a house swap until….hmmmm….I’m ready to come back 😛

From Florida I would like the Pudding Lady shop from Lake Buena Vista, who just serves shed loads of nice cakes and wine. She needs to set up shop on my street.

Well-founded reasons indeed! No point in it, unless one happened to like more work than something is worth. Then, it would be the ideal venture. So I hope you had a lie-down and woke refreshed and fog-repelling : )

I’m intrigued by your Answers on a Postcard, btw, as intrigued as I continue to be by Esquire’s Napkin Fiction, and so I will jam down a few answers mañana…

So good to hear from you, Miss A. I was only thinking about you t’other day; you must have heard me.
Oh! I just looked up the napkin fiction project (reminds me a bit of Post Secret) what a fab idea. I want to play. I’m moving to America. Got any napkins?

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